“This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Beneath and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop.” Rachel Corrie wrote these words to her mother before being crushed to death by an Israeli Bulldozer. Her crime was resisting home demolitions in Rafah.
Last May, in a speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), George Bush waxed eloquent on the murder of three American citizens by terrorists who “kill without mercy” and “kill without shame.” Two of these Americans, Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl, were executed during Bush’s tenure in the White House. The third, Leon Klinghoffer, was killed two decades earlier when Reagan was president.
In his AIPAC speech, Bush made it clear that he was familiar with all three victims and the circumstances that led to their murder. He noted that “followers of the terrorist ideology executed an elderly man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, and pushed his body over the side of a ship into the sea.” He made no mention of Rachel Corrie, another American victim of those who “kill without mercy.” Unlike Klinghoffer, Rachel was killed on Bush’s watch, not Reagan’s. An Israeli Army used a Caterpillar Bulldozer to murder the young American peace activist from Olympia, Washington.
The speech to AIPAC gave Bush a golden opportunity to pressure the Israeli Lobby to bring a measure of justice to those responsible for Rachel’s murder. Instead, he chose to bring up Klinghoffer. No surprise there. Bush is keenly aware that the “American” Israeli lobby is tasked with a one-way mission to manipulate the policies of the United States in favor of Israel. It was simply out of the question for Bush to ask the AIPAC faithful to act on behalf of a fellow American citizen. After all, this is an election year and this is George Bush. Do not expect shame or mercy from this president.
Given the current state of the union, not all American deaths are equal. The president of the United States will never mention Rachel Corrie or dispatch FBI agents to investigate the circumstances of her death. Every American adult who pays attention to these matters knows that George Bush will not embarrass Sharon with pesky questions on what happened to Rachel. The moral of this story is that Pearl and Klinghoffer were honored citizens while Rachel was only a “misguided” peace activist. Reagan spared no effort to bring justice to Klinghoffer’s killers. But Bush chose to be recklessly irresponsible in ignoring the murder of a young American abroad during his term in office.
One should also note that John Kerry has yet to utter a word about Rachel. Neither the President nor his Democratic rival will discipline the American Embassy staff in Tel Aviv for their indifference. Daniel Kurtzer, the American envoy to Israel, was appointed to conduct the affairs of the U.S. Embassy as an agency for promoting Israeli interests. Protecting the citizens of the United States from Israel’s American financed arsenal is not part of his official duties.
Welcome to an America made new again by George Bush. We hold these truths to be self-evident that not all American deaths are equal. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are luxuries that we can ill afford to extend to every member of our society. The President and Congress shall have the power to decide which American deaths are worth examining and which American lives are deemed expendable. Our values and our heritage compel us to proclaim to the nation the sacred truth; some American lives are more important than others.
In a more perfect union, a president of the United States would feel compelled to demand answers for the murder of all Americans abroad, regardless of the victim’s political passions or taste in music. But we are where we are. We live in a land where the president considers the Fourteenth Amendment a dead letter. Those who believe that “equal protection of the law” is still an operative clause have not been paying attention. Neither George Bush nor John Kerry have demonstrated any inclination to extend the “privileges and immunities of citizens” to Rachel Corrie.
In light of the way this government dealt with Rachel’s death, it seems that a vote for either Bush or Kerry would only encourage them to show more contempt for the constitution and less concern for the welfare of American citizens living abroad. Remember Rachel’s words: “This has to stop.” And it will not stop until enough Americans vote against the rotten pack of scoundrels that pollute the ranks of both major parties. No amount of reform will clean up either of these degenerate institutions. Both these parties will continue trampling on the constitution and the graves of fellow Americans to curry favor with a lobby that works for the account of a foreign government. We can honor Rachel’s memory by letting our political high priests know that “this has to stop.” To paraphrase Rachel, voting for a third party is not an extremist thing to do anymore.
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Bush or Kerry